MANILA - President Aquino criticized TV Patrol anchor Noli de Castro for his negative comments to positive government news he occasionally makes during the banter portion at the end of TV Patrol's daily news programs.
In his speech Friday night at the 25th anniversary of the Philippines' number one prime time news program, Aquino vented his frustrations over Kabayan's negative extemporaneous comments and cited several examples.
In October 2011, after an ABS-CBN correspondent reported good news about higher passenger arrivals at NAIA 3, Aquino criticized De Castro for belittling the gains by raising the problems faced at the old NAIA 1 terminal.
"Noong Oktubre ng nakaraang taon, may isang reporter ang nagbalita sa NAIA 3. Ang sabi niya, sa puntong iyon, tumaas ng dalawampung porsiyento ang passenger arrivals sa paliparan. Magandang balita, at higit sa lahat, fact po iyan. Sa kabila po nito, nakuha pa pong humirit ng anchor: 'Nasa NAIA 3 ka kasi; kung nasa NAIA 1 ka, du’n malala.'"
Aquino said De Castro's reference to NAIA 1 was not related to the news about passenger arrivals at NAIA 3, the country's newest airport terminal, and that the anchor neglected to point out that NAIA 1 was already more than 30 years old.
"Sa loob-loob ko po, ano’ng kinalaman ng ibinalita sa NAIA 3 sa NAIA 1? May nagsabi po bang ayos na ayos na ang NAIA 1? Nakaligtaan niya atang mahigit trenta anyos na ang strukturang ito."
Aquino also pointed out that De Castro was the vice-president during the Arroyo administration, which should share part of the blame for NAIA 1's deterioration. De Castro returned to co-anchoring TV Patrol in November 2010, 5 months after finishing his term as vice-president on June 30, 2010.
"Napapaisip nga po ako: yung nagkomento nito, hindi ba’t anim na taon ding tumangan sa renda ng gobyerno? Sabihin na po nating minana lang din nila ang problema; di hamak mas luma ang ipinamana nilang problema sa amin. Anim na taon ang ipinagkaloob sa kanya para tumulong sa pagsasaayos ng mismong inirereklamo niya. Pero ngayon, tayo na nga ang may bitbit ng problema, tayo na nga ang tumutugon dito, pero may gana pa tayong hiritan?" the President said.
Another example Aquino cited was the news about the National Bureau of Investigation's recovery of a kidnapped child, a foreigner, last June 26.
The successful recovery was good news to the boy and his parents, but Aquino noted that De Castro belittled the positive news by saying it may have been a "set-up rescue operation," and that the boy may have been released because ransom was paid.
"Naalala ko rin po nang narecover ng NBI ang isang banyagang bata na nakidnap. Ang ganda na po sana: Nakakuha ng tip ang awtoridad, kumilos sila, at na-recover ang bata. Masaya ang mga magulang na kapiling na muli nila ang kanilang anak; masaya ang bata na kayakap niya ang kaniyang ama't ina; masaya ang awtoridad na maayos at matagumpay ang operasyon nila. Mukhang ang hindi lang masaya, yung anchor na nagawa pa uling humirit na baka raw set-up lang ang rescue operation, at binayaran lang talaga ang ransom," he said.
"Kahit anong pilit ng reporter na malinaw ang operasyon; nag-surveillance ang mga taga-NBI, at talagang natiyempuhan nilang walang nakabantay sa bata, pilit pa rin nang pilit ang anchor. Naman. Kami pa po mismo ang magagalak kung makakapaghain kayo ng ebidensya ukol dito; usigin natin ang mga salarin," the President added.
"May naitutulong po ba ang mga walang-basehang spekulasyon, lalo na kung lumalabas ka sa telebisyon at sinusubaybayan ng sambayanan? Kung nagbabangkaaan lang tayo sa kanto, hindi problema ang mga walang-basehang patutsada. Pero kung alam mong opinion maker ka, alam mo rin dapat na meron kang responsibilidad. Sana po, sa tuwing sasabihin nating 'magandang gabi, bayan,' ay totoong hinahangad nating maging maganda ang gabi ng bayan."
NCAD chief reacts
In response to Aquino's comments, Ging Reyes, head of ABS-CBN's News and Current Affairs Division (NCAD), said: "Criticism is not a monopoly of journalists and media practitioners. The President had as much right to free speech as every citizen."
"But the focus of Friday's celebration was TV Patrol's 25 years - the people behind the stories, the unsung heroes behind the cameras and unforgettable events that shaped history. We did not just remember the disasters, anomalies and political upheavals that TV Patrol covered. We also celebrated stories of remarkable achievers and everyday heroes, whose triumphs over adversity is a testament to the resiliency of the Filipino spirit," she added.
TV Patrol has kept a wide lead over closest rival, 24 Oras of GMA 7, based on Kantar Media/TNS nationwide surveys. On July 23, 2012, for instance, TV Patrol rated 29.2% compared to 24 Oras' 17.3%.